Puye Cliff Dwellings, Northern NM

November 14, 2016 Adventures in Anthropology led a group tour at the Puye Cliff Dwellings in Northern New Mexico. This 2-hour event covered a tour of an important archaeological site that was once home to 1,500 Pueblo Indians who lived, farmed and hunted game there from 900s to 1580 A.D..

Native peoples first settled in the area in the late 10th century living in dispersed farmstead dwellings at the east side of the Jemez Mountains. Puye Cliffs’ inhabitants then moved into the Rio Grande River valley, eventually becoming the ancestors of today’s Santa Clara people, who now live at Santa Clara Pueblo, 10 miles east of Puye.

Santa Clara Pueblo Map

The visitors center is an original Harvey House built by the legendary Fred Harvey Company in the late 1800s as amenities for tourists traveling to the Southwest by railroad and, later, by passenger car. The Harvey House at Puye Cliffs was the only Harvey House built on an Indian reservation.


The Puye Cliff Dwellings are the ruins of an abandoned pueblo, located in Santa Clara Canyon on Santa Clara Pueblo land near Española, New Mexico.  The site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

Puye 1.jpg

The dwellings were carved out soft of volcanic tuff on about a 200 feet (61 m) cliff ridge. The rock is relatively soft and can be excavated using wooden tools. The cliff dwellings held about 740 rooms and ruins at the base of the cliff that likely held additional dwellings.

Puye Facts:

  • One level of the cliff dwellings is over one mile long
  • Edgar Hewitt excavated Puye Cliffs in 1907


Puye Cliff Dwellings. (2016, October 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:13, October 9, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Puye_Cliff_Dwellings&oldid=743458473

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